Friday, January 20, 2012

National Association of Multicultural Education responds to closing of Mexican American Studies program

[Note: A chronological list of links to AICL's coverage of the shut-down of the Mexican American Studies Department at Tucson Unified School District is here. Information about the national Mexican American Studies Teach-in is here. The best source for daily updates out of Tucson is blogger David Abie Morales at Three Sonorans.]

On Wednesday, January 18th, Christine Sleeter, President of the National Association of Multicultural Education, posted the following letter to the Save Ethnic Studies page on Facebook. She prefaces the letter by saying she submitted it to the Arizona Daily Star but it had not yet been published.

Dear Editors:

As a long-time educator, I am outraged that the Arizona Department of Education closed a program that has been highly successful in graduating Mexican American students, and is now censoring what can be taught about Mexican American history.

Mexican American students completing Tucson’s ethnic studies program had been graduating at a rate of over 90%, and entering college at a rate of about 80%. This is a remarkable record of closing a huge achievement gap. Its success is supported by social psychology research documenting that Black and Latino students who have a strong, positive ethnic identity and an understanding of racism and how it can be challenged tend to take education more seriously than those who do not.

Banning texts means censoring knowledge that resonates with and explains conditions of life Mexican American students experience everyday. Censorship flies in the face of education in a democracy. Ethnic Studies must be restored.

Christine Sleeter
President, National Association for Multicultural Education

AICL Coverage of Arizona Law that resulted in shut down of Mexican American Studies Program and Banning of Books

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